PSG to face Real Madrid in Champions League last 16 after draw farce
Paris Saint-Germain will play Real Madrid while Liverpool take on Inter Milan in two of the standout ties in the last 16 of the Champions League after an embarrassed UEFA was forced to redo Monday’s draw following a “technical problem”.
PSG had initially been paired together with Manchester United but the reworked draw sees them play Real while the Old Trafford side will face Spanish champions Atletico Madrid.
UEFA had earlier blamed a “material error” due to a “technical problem with the software of an external service provider” as it announced that the draw for the first knockout round of its flagship competition would have to be redone.
With the draw being streamed live from UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, the problem was made evident when Manchester United’s name was drawn to face Villarreal, despite the fact the two clubs could not have played one another having been in the same group.
Record 13-time European champions Real are unlikely to be happy with the new draw as they had initially been paired with Benfica in the very first tie before the problems occurred — a clash with the PSG of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe is, on paper, a far tougher tie.
Liverpool face a similar situation. Having initially been drawn against knockout-phase debutants Red Bull Salzburg of Austria, they now face three-time former winners Inter, the Serie A champions and current Italian league leaders.
Salzburg instead got Bayern Munich, while Manchester City take on Sporting Lisbon and Benfica will play Ajax.
Villarreal face Juventus, while the one tie in the original, botched draw that was repeated later sees reigning champions Chelsea face French title-holders Lille.
The first legs will be played in the second half of February with second legs in early March.
This season’s Champions League final will be played in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg on May 28.